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Jockeying for 2024: Who are the Early Contenders?

A Commentary by Brian C Joondeph

The 2024 presidential election is more than two years away, but the jockeying has begun among those contending for the most powerful job in the world. An incumbent president typically is the odds-on favorite, although there have been recent exceptions named Carter, Bush, and Trump.

President Joe Biden falls into the Carter category, presiding over a horrific economic storm of inflation and recession, with no easy way out, at least within the toolbox of a Democrat president.

Biden is instead babbling incoherently and shaking hands with the air. Can he be reelected despite his failing presidency? The Washington Post believes he is planning on running for a second term.

Biden's approval rating has dipped into the political death zone, 29% according to a recent Civiqs survey. Rasmussen Reports has him polling higher, at 42%, a full 5-10 points below Trump at a similar point in their presidencies. They also found that only 19% of likely U.S. voters think the country is heading in the right direction, not a ringing endorsement for the guy in charge.

Rising inflation and a soon-to-be-confirmed recession will be pinned on the administration and political party in charge. A Siena College poll finds 64% of Democrats, not even waiting for the midterm election results, want their candidate in 2024 to be someone other than Biden. What about Biden’s number two?

Vice-President Kamala Harris is deemed unpopular and unqualified in a recent Rasmussen survey, with 54% of likely U.S. voters not believing Harris qualified for the top job.

There is always two-time losing candidate Hillary Clinton. Democrat political consultant Douglas Schoen considers her the “best bet for Democrats in 2024." Hillary herself said a presidential campaign in 2024 is “out of the question” although she has not been known for her veracity.

Filmmaker Joel Gilbert, in his new film and book, “Michelle Obama 2024: Her Real Life Story and Plan for Power,” reviews her narrative and makes a compelling case for her candidacy in 2024. Gilbert notes that like her politically successful husband, Michelle hid her elite background and lifestyle, created a cult of personality, was a keynote speaker at the 2016 and 2020 DNC conventions, and is currently on a self-promoting book tour, all moves her husband made seeking his party’s nomination in 2008 and which served him well. Could these tricks work for his wife?

Americans may not want another political dynasty after the Clintons and Bushes. So who else is out there? Will Bernie Sanders make another run? Unlikely as he will be 82 years old at the time. Elizabeth Warren will be 75 and is as unlikable as Hillary Clinton. Pete Buttigieg was a better mayor than Transportation Secretary, and that isn’t saying much. Do other Democrat retreads want to make a run, such as Michael Bloomberg, Howard Schultz, or Marianne Williamson?

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, having narrowly avoided a recall, is making moves toward the White House. Aside from his policies making a mess of California, including crime, homelessness, and taxes, he too has a “practice what you preach” problem. He dined lavishly and maskless at the French Laundry while telling his residents to do the opposite, then took his family on vacation to Montana, a state he forbids travel to on state business due to Montana being insufficiently woke on LGBTQ issues.

A potential dark horse candidate is Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Colorado native, an Ivy League grad, and wealthy. He has a net worth of $400 million from successful business ventures including Blue Mountain Arts, an e-greeting card firm, and Pro Flowers, an online florist. How many successful businesses has Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren created?

While Polis is a liberal Democrat, he tries to position himself as a libertarian, enough to fool moderate voters. During the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of playing dictator like many of his fellow governors, he allowed the counties to make their own rules regarding masks, preferring local rather than statewide public health decisions. He is also in favor of school choice and a zero state income tax rate.

Most importantly in Democrat circles, Polis is openly gay, checking an important Democrat box of intersectionality, yet he doesn’t flaunt it like Buttigieg, for example. As the Democrat troubles mount, Polis may become their savior, assuming he even wants the job.

On the Republican side Donald Trump is still king. He leads the 2024 GOP primary field by 20 points in New Hampshire and Texas, although polls this early are hardly predictive, except for gauging current sentiment.

A Harvard Caps Harris Poll found Donald Trump as the currently most popular politician in America, along with 70 percent of Americans believing the country is on the wrong track. But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is leading Trump in fundraising this year, fueling speculation about his prospects as a presidential or perhaps Trump VP candidate.


Despite the mean tweets and Queens bluster, Trump presided over a strong America, economically and internationally, in sharp contrast to the current White House occupant. Could other Republicans make a run for it? Certainly, and names like DeSantis, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, and Mike Pence pop up. Trump is still the GOP kingmaker in terms of drawing crowds and creating enthusiasm, but it remains to be seen whether “Trump fatigue” will factor in leading Republican voters to say “thanks but no thanks” to the drama of another Trump campaign and presidency.

Given the dismal and declining state of America under Democrat leadership, the 2024 presidential election is for the Republicans to lose, which they certainly could given past performances. But the race has begun and will prove to be an exciting and interesting one!

Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a physician and writer.

Follow me on Twitter @retinaldoctor

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